Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) for Israel?

by Maskil on January 14, 2008

Through the work of (mainly) Hazon’s Tuv Ha’Aretz initiative, the concept of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has begun to gain a mindshare amongst environmentally conscious Jews in the US. According to the Hazon website, “Although Community-Supported Agriculture has existed in America for two decades, Hazon is the first organization to create a CSA within a Jewish framework.”

If one can read between the lines, there are now signs that the CSA concept may also be catching on in Israel. According to this article by Ronit Vered (ORGANIC IN ISRAEL, Friday, December 21):

Amnon Uziah, one of the country’s first organic farmers, is determined to refute the prevailing notion that organic produce is much more expensive than regular fruit and vegetables. His direct-marketing system, which bypasses the big wholesale distribution companies that leave farmers with only meager profits, is proving itself: Almost 500 families, from Ra’anana to Be’er Sheva, are awakening each morning to find crates of fresh organic produce, picked that very day, placed on their doorstep – beets, fennel and fragrant celery stalks, all at very reasonable prices and of high quality.

While this doesn’t exactly fit the classic definition of Community Supported Agriculture below (“subscription farming” would probably be a better description), it’s certainly a step in the right direction.

Community Supported Agriculture consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community’s farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production. Typically, members or “share-holders” of the farm or garden pledge in advance to cover the anticipated costs of the farm operation and farmer’s salary. In return, they receive shares in the farm’s bounty throughout the growing season, as well as satisfaction gained from reconnecting to the land and participating directly in food production. Members also share in the risks of farming, including poor harvests due to unfavorable weather or pests. By direct sales to community members, who have provided the farmer with working capital in advance, growers receive better prices for their crops, gain some financial security, and are relieved of much of the burden of marketing.

Take a few minutes to read the full article on the USDA website. The concept sounds like something that could benefit both beleaguered Jewish agriculture in Israel and the Israeli consumer.

Hazon’s Tuv Ha’Aretz itself now has its first partner CSA in Israel, Yigal Deutscher’s farm Chava V’Adam, located in the “green space” on the outskirts of the city of Modi’in. Chava V’Adam is also home to the Shorashim:Roots program, an exciting 5-month farming apprenticeship and residency for Jewish 20-somethings.

hazon :: About Tuv Ha’Aretz

ORGANIC IN ISRAEL

Defining Community Supported Agriculture

hazon :: Israel

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